We generally look at an offense and assume points scored is the best measure of an offense. Points scored is an important element of how we can measure an offense. We can go deeper than that and look into the run, passing, and red zone departments of an offense to narrow down how they work. An offense does not need to have green boxes across all rankings to be deemed a top offense. For example, a run-heavy offense that has a very efficient passing game can be one of the top offenses. We just saw that recently with the Baltimore Ravens. They ranked first in passing touchdowns and were top two in rushing yards, attempts, and touchdowns. They were dead last in pass attempts and completions.
Teams are going to operate differently, and there are a lot of moving pieces in why that is. For one, it comes down to how they are built. If they have a fair run game with a struggling offensive line, chances are they are going to need to throw to their strengths. Coaching schemes are also something to note. We often criticize offensives for being too run-heavy, like the Seattle Seahawks, who are lucky to have Russell Wilson. A great run offense is only half the battle. Tennessee has tried to rely upon the run for a few years now, and the passing offense has struggled. When things began to equal out under Ryan Tannehill, the offense became complete and provided more success.
The red zone is an area where teams need to have strong efficiency. It is no surprise that when we see the top-scoring offenses, they are also efficient in the red zone. Red zone touchdowns mean that they were excellent at finding the end zone inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Taking it one step further, red zone touchdown percentage shows the amount of time they scored a touchdown over a field goal. This is crucial, as a touchdown is certainly better than a field goal.
Some of the top offenses are also very successful on third downs. Simply that can keep a drive going, and the chances of scoring points go up. If you have a strong third-down conversion rate, you have better odds of putting together overall offensive numbers. We are at a battle in this day and age with being aggressive on fourth down. That means opting to go for it instead of settling for field goals or punting on 4th and three around the midfield mark. Teams often get rewarded when adopting an aggressive mindset on fourth down. We see lower-performing teams failing on fourth down at a higher rate than the better offenses.
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How To Read Offensive Team Rankings
Each team is going to be ranked 1-32 in different categories. Some may share the same number because they are tied in that stat. You can sort through each column and see standard results. Now going one step further, you will need to understand that just because a team is in red in a certain area, it does not mean that it is a bad thing. As mentioned above, offenses are run in different ways. Because a team lacks in passing yards or passing attempts, it doesn’t mean that they have a bad passing offense. The same can be said for rushing numbers as well. There are factors like offensive style, and also the situations they find themselves in each game. If they are always playing from behind, they won’t be running the ball that often, because they have to play catch up.
Some teams don’t rank inside the top half in red zone attempts but are efficient enough to where they produce touchdowns when they do. Offenses that are built to score in big chunks like the Kansas City Chiefs may not see a ton of red zone attempts, and that is okay because they are built to score from outside of the 20 yard-line. One area linked to offensive success is the number of first downs as well as third and fourth down conversions. This does align with how successful an offense is.
The amount of plays is also not indicative of how good an offense is either. Teams that are efficient or run a slower pace can rank lower in the number of plays they run, to where their production is solid, but the number of plays and attempts they carry are going to be average to even below average. If you are looking for fantasy points, you can see how successful an offense is in generating fantasy points.
If you are looking at interceptions and sacks. The higher the ranking, the better the team performed. If they rank first, it means that they allowed the fewest sacks or threw the fewest touchdowns. If they are in the red and towards the bottom, they allowed the most or threw the most. Teams that turn the ball over can correlate with volume, but teams that take care of the ball have better offensive numbers. Protecting your quarterback is also important, and the base of an offense starts with the offensive line.
Part of the reason why some teams will rank higher or lower than average is because of the offensive scheme they run. Of course, teams that are successful at throwing the ball will want to throw more, and the same goes for running the ball. However, some teams will stick to their offensive scheme regardless of success. Run heavy offenses will take away pass attempts, but the stronger offenses will still make up in touchdowns and overall points. San Francisco was a great example of this, alongside Baltimore this past season. They dominated so much on the ground, and in games overall, there was no need for them to throw heavy.
Teams that throw the ball more can be because of their offensive build, coaching style, or because of their defense. The defensive aspect we will get to in a minute, but pass-heavy offenses can still generate a lot of rushing attempts as well. They tend to go hand in hand with teams on a heavier pace as well. Teams that rank high in overall plays run, they also rank very high in pass attempts. There might be a few outliers, but for the most part, they are going to correlate.
No-huddle has been a popular way to go for teams, and it can be mix and match throughout the season. Teams that play at a faster pace can translate in the points department. They will still need to be efficient, but it is less reliant because they will have more opportunities. All these offensive styles also factor into how we want to view them for fantasy. That is why studying how offenses are run can be a big help for your fantasy teams.
Looking back throughout the last few seasons, teams with more pass attempts also tie into fantasy points. Even some of the poorer teams in the league were fantasy viable because they were able to throw the ball a lot. If you are using this page for fantasy, it will be updating each week, and it is hard to view on a week-to-week basis. There are a lot of moving factors that can’t be seen here. If a team for the first five weeks was playing from behind, they might have more passing attempts in comparison to the next five weeks if they become neutral game scripts where they want to be more run-heavy.
There is a lot of data out there about wanting teams to be more aggressive, but only some of the NFL teams have gotten the note. When looking at fourth-down attempts and conversion rates, there is no surprise to see them also linked to higher points as well. More conservative teams would finish league average or below league average.
How A Team’s Offenses and Defenses Correlate
Before you dive into defensive stats, you might be able to get a look at how a team’s defense performs. It is all about putting multiple pieces of the puzzle together. Teams that ranked high in pass attempts might also have poorer defenses. The NFC South has been a shootout division over recent times, mainly because of how the offenses are run. However, the style of defense heavily factors into the game flow. Teams that struggle with their secondary are going to be in shootouts, especially if their offense can keep up. A lot of teams that finish at the bottom of the league will have higher pass attempts in the rankings.
Teams that play in closer games with a heavy run scheme or are leading, their second-half offenses will look a little bit different. They may see more even rankings in pass attempts and then lean more on the run. It will be about milking the clock or taking long possessions, which are tied to rushing attempts.
Efficiency Vs. Volume
You might hear a lot about negative and positive regression, especially in the scoring department. A team that ranks in the top five in pass attempts but has average to below-average passing touchdown numbers, in a normal season, they might see some positive regression where that balances out the next season. It can also work the other way where teams are historically efficient, and that balances out the next season where things come back down to earth a little bit. For example, if a team rushes the second highest in the league, but is 18th in rushing touchdowns, we might see some positive regression. On the flip side, if a team ranks 20th in attempts and finishes 2nd in touchdowns, they might be due some negative regression.
Both are important, as generally volume will be linked with more touchdowns and yards. But just because a team doesn’t throw at a high rate, it doesn’t mean they are a poor fantasy pass offense or just a poor offense in general. Efficiency can make up for volume, and vice versa. Some teams are just going to be outliers in the system as well. As mentioned above, Red Zone numbers are where we can see this happen a lot. It also ties into how teams are built. If they are chunk play offenses, we might not see many red zone attempts, but the efficiency becomes important.
Are Red Zone Stats Important?
We have seen a lot of noisy data in terms of how red zone numbers correlate with an offense. Over the last few seasons, Tennessee has been one of the best red-zone offenses in football, but their overall points have been extremely up and down. We have also seen some top teams in red zone touchdown percentage finish in the middle of the league in points and yards. Even teams that have slightly below average red zone numbers can produce strong points. There is a strong correlation with the bottom 10% of red zone numbers for touchdowns produced and how they turn out for points. This is crucial because their overall attempts are often low, so the times that they are getting to the red zone and not producing, it makes it more crucial to score.
This can also point to some negative and positive regression for the next season. If a team gets a lot of red zone attempts but fails to convert at a league-average rate, data suggests there is still some positive regression that can occur. You are going to find two people in this world, one who love the analytical side of football, and the other who doesn’t. Red zone stats are going to be of high variance, but they certainly have their worth. Overall we want our teams to score when getting close to the end zone, and it is disappointing when they don’t. A score is still important, where field goals have some worth, but the correlation of winning football games still lies heavily with touchdowns over field goals.
NFL Team Ranking Frequently Asked Questions
Who Has The Best Offense In The NFL 2020?
Green Bay dominated on the offensive side, averaging 31.8 points per game and 389 yards per game. The Packers were a balanced attack averaging 256 yards through the air and 132 on the ground
Who Has The Worst NFL Offense In 2020?
The New York Jets have the worst offense in the league, averaging just 15.2 points per game and 279.9 yards per game. The Jets ended up winning two games.
What Team Threw The Most Interceptions In 2020?
The Denver Broncos had the most interceptions in 2020, with 23. Drew Lock led the team but they did have some positional issues with backups for a few weeks.
Who Was The Highest Scoring NFL Team In 2020?
Green Bay averaged 31.8 points per game in the regular season. The Packers averaged 389 yards per game and Aaron Rodgers posted MVP-like numbers with 48 touchdowns.
Who Was The Lowest Scoring NFL Team in 2020?
The New York Jets were the lowest scoring team in 2020. They averaged just 15.2 points per game on the year. New York struggled through the air averaging 174.8 yards per game.
What Are Red Zone Stats?
When an offense reaches the opposing team’s 20-yard-line, this area is called the red zone. Any plays run inside that mark will turn into red zone stats. The goal is to narrow down how offenses and defenses run in a crucial area of the field.